Don’t Stress About It

What brings you stress? Kids, your job(s), spouse, parents, deadlines, or any of a hundred other things. For me, people give me the most stress. Also, one that will seem odd, my name. You will think it odd that I’d stress out over my name but I do. I gave up my maiden name when I married, the husband wanted me to and I did it to make him happy. Then, we got divorced and I decided to keep my married name, like a marker to show that I had at least gotten that far. Now, I don’t feel I have a last name at all. I get stressed when I have to fill in my last name cause I don’t want to be that name. Anyway, it’s a long winding story.

What odd things bring you to the stress breaking point? Have you ever written about them. Just a freestyle, brain storming type essay to vent your feelings. It’s amazing how much you can discover about yourself and your feelings when you vent on paper. You know you control who reads it, if anyone so you can type things you’d never say and not even dare to think in public. Vent your stress. Maybe all it really needs is an outlet, a chance to let off some steam.

Stressing about family and friends – personal relationships, is something we have to live with. You just can’t get rid of people. I think of various Twilight Zone style stories I’ve seen and read. Those tales of the last person on Earth or the only one, somehow, even for just a day. Doesn’t that just seem like paradise sometimes? I wrote about my adventures as the only person left. It was such a blast, I did so many things I’ve always wanted to do, went to all kinds of places and tried all kinds of things I’d be too shy to do if anyone were watching. But it was great fun to write it and see it all happening in my mind as I wrote.

The best way I handle family stress is to give myself a day off, even if I have to lie to get it. When necessary I tell them I’m working (my day job) and then go out just as if I were working. Then I drive. Most of the time I don’t even have a real destination in mind. I might not have much spending money either. It doesn’t matter. I just go for coffee and read a book in one of those coffee shops where all the soccer Moms hang out. It’s a nice break. I start to feel like I’m really part of the world again and not tightly fitted into my little space squished between family and work. It’s nice to just be me in the world.

Deadlines are another big stress. I have a bad habit (for lack of a better word) of taking on too much. I just seem to think I can never do enough. As if I have to compare myself to some perfect woman writer who probably doesn’t exist outside of my own mind. I have begun to realize this about myself. I handle it by admitting I am not super woman. If I have dug myself in too deep I allow myself to decide what stays and what goes. I’ve learned to make better decisions about what projects I do take on. Rather than saving the world I am just doing what will work for me. (I only save the world every other week now).

Anyway, everyone has evolved different stress management techniques. Do what works for you. Find something that does work though. Don’t wait till you have steam coming out of your ears and you’re yelling and screaming at everyone in your vicinity. That’s not good for anyone’s stress level.

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